Good news for schoolchildren from the 2012 election
Arizona voters were not the only ones that considered ballot measures last week that dealt with schools. Across the country, voters were faced with a variety of proposals, from tax increases to new charter school laws. In three states, children benefited from voter-approved initiatives.
Arizona Proposition 204: Failed
This attempt to raise the sales tax was filled with carve-outs for special interest groups and lacked any meaningful innovations or effective ideas for Arizona children. Now lawmakers can focus on real reform, like successful implementation of education savings accounts, updating the school finance formula so taxpayers stop paying for empty seats in classrooms, and expanding online learning that has been proven to boost student achievement.
Washington State’s Initiative 1240: Passed
The initiative creates the nation’s 43rd charter school law (42 states and the District of Columbia). The measure calls for the creation of a statewide charter school authorizer, much like Arizona’s state charter board. These offices independent of local school districts have been a boon to charter schools in states like Arizona (where the statewide office has authorized nearly 90 percent of Arizona’s charter schools), South Carolina, and Colorado.
Georgia’s Amendment 1: Passed
Georgia already had a charter school law, but parents’ and community leaders’ freedom to create these schools has been under attack by school district officials. This state constitutional amendment restores the statewide charter school authorizer the Georgia Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional in 2011. The passage of this amendment will create more charter schools and give parents and children more choices among schools in their state.
Now that the votes are counted, let’s get to work making sure every child has the chance to go to a school that challenges them and prepares them for life.
Jonathan Butcher is Education Director for the Goldwater Institute.
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Goldwater Institute: Education Savings Accounts: A Path to Give All Children an Effective Education and Prepare Them for Life
Goldwater Institute: A Custom Education for Every Child: The Promise of Online Learning and Education Savings Accounts